Brahms’s Requiem, completed in 1868, draws on the legacy of his forerunners, Heinrich Schütz and Johann Sebastian Bach. In setting texts from the German Bible, it deliberately departs from the models of the Catholic liturgy and imposes a sorrowing yet consolatory meditation on death and the Last Judgment, in the manner of a poignant and grandiose cradle song for the dead.
Unanimity of attack and suavity of tone are two obvious and immediate benefits of such a period-inclined approach…Harding’s direction is unhurried, true to both the letter and the spirit of Brahms’s score…He enjoys the inestimable advantage of Matthias Goerne as a magnificently careworn and world-weary philosopher. Gramophone
The discography of A German Requiem is strong, and no doubt many collectors long ago stopped looking to replace Karajan, Klemperer, and other old favorites. I’d advance this new release as something exceptional, however. It rises to a very moving level of expressive power. The recorded sound is full and lifelike, and the balance between chorus, soloists, and orchestra is satisfying, although Goerne and Karg are miked very closely in a roomy ambience. Fanfare